Many of us have witnessed some social media notifications that may be weird, or just not feel right. It could be a text from a random stranger, an unknown friend request, an SMS claiming to have won a jackpot, or just anything. In today’s world of social media, the real identity at the back end of the device can also be very much deceiving.
A Ponda resident was duped of Rs 23 lakhs by a social media user he was chatting with for almost over a period of three months. The victim, all the while thought he was chatting with a woman, however, in reality, it turned out to be a boy – a school dropout.
The backstory. Swapnil Naik was arrested by the Cyber Crime Cell of the Goa police this weekend. His crime? He was impersonating himself to be a woman, and on the pretext of promising the Ponda resident to get married to him, managed to get Rs 23 lakhs transferred to his account over a span of three months.
“From July 27, 2020, to September 16, 2020, an unknown user on Facebook on the pretext of marrying the complainant fraudulently deceived the complainant to transfer an amount of Rs 23,21,068,” the cyber police said in a statement.
The accused, Swapnil, also happens to be a habitual offender and was also previously booked by Curchorem police in a fraud and cheating case. He was picked up by the police from a hideout location in Davangere in Karnataka.
According to initial investigations, it is pertinent to note that there may be more other persons the accused may have duped in the past and the police are trying to get more information on the previous crimes done by the accused.
Here are some important steps to keep yourself safe from such persons, either impersonation or just being fraudsters online:
- Avoid sharing personal information: If you are chatting with an unknown person online, avoid sharing personal details as far as possible. Do not give away your bank details, phone contacts, address whatever may be the assurance from the other side.
- Do not transfer money: Whatever may be the cause, and even if the person may show a sorry face, do not indulge in transferring any money. If it is a genuine reason, learnt to build a trusted relationship with the person, because, mind you, no unknown person will ask for a bank transfer randomly for no appropriate reason.
- Confirm the person’s identity: If you genuinely are connecting with the other person, you may want to confirm the identity of the person, including the gender.
- Make your social media accounts private: In fact, the best way to avoid all these fraudsters pinging your texts is to keep your social media accounts private. This may although not stop them from approaching you, but they will at least not be able to scan through your accounts.
- Get screenshots: If you do happen to get into a conversation and something wrong does happen, be prepared to take screenshots of the chat occasionally so that you have some proof in the future.
- Report the incident: However small the incident may be, a fake account, or a money fraud, report the incident so that the best action can be initiated at the earliest.
Among all the possible solutions to stay safe online, be calm, and be aware of the situation. Stay proactive to initiate action, and keep your friends and family posted.
There is no shame in being the victim, but you can obviously save another from being one.